seismic haz
More info
for EPS 20
Richard Allen
Seismo Lab
Earth & Planetary
UC Berkeley

Preparedness: Students on Campus

These guidliness come from the UC Berkeley Office of Emergency Preparedness.

See what happens to a typical bedroom during an earthquake.

There's a high probability for an earthquake on the Hayward fault, which passes under the football stadium on the eastern side of campus. Although UC Berkeley is strengthening many of our buildings to reduce casualties and damages in a future quake, we depend on well-informed students to take steps to increase their safety and protect their belongings. Now that you live in earthquake country, you will want to learn about the campus emergency plan, what to do if an earthquake happens, and how to keep your stuff safe in your room or apartment. That includes what's on your computer. There's information here for your parents too.

More video and info on this CUREE-Caltech Woodframe shake-table test.

Before it Happens

  • Read emergency information posted in buildings and published in the Course Catalog. Talk with your roommates about what you will all do in an emergency.
  • Each campus building has a designated evacuation area. Find out where these Emergency Assembly Areas (EAA) are for your residence hall and classroom buildings.
  • Think ahead about how you would exit your room or apartment building.
  • Locate the fire extinguishers; know how to use them.
  • Share this information with your parents. Make a plan for communicating with them in case of an earthquake. Long distance phone lines may work better than local ones.
  • Back up your computer(s) daily or weekly. Keep the disks at a separate location.

Make your Room or Apartment Safer

  • Be sure that mirrors, framed pictures, glass items or other heavy objects aren't hanging over your bed or your desk.
  • Tall bookshelves and cabinets could fall on you or block your exit. Brace and bolt such furniture to prevent its toppling.
  • If it's not possible to secure furniture, rearrange it to reduce danger.
  • Do not stack bookcases or file cabinets.
  • Don't use unsecured shelves made out of bricks, cement blocks and boards.
  • Kitchen cabinet contents can be dangerous; keep the doors latched.
  • Anchor stereo equipment, TVs, and computers with earthquake fasteners.

Put together an Emergency Kit

  • First aid supplies are very important. Have a good supply and know how to administer first aid.
  • A flashlight with extra batteries will be useful if the electricity goes out.
  • Have a small portable radio, with the right batteries.
  • Keep extras of such personal supplies as glasses, contact lenses, and prescription medications.
  • Include a pair of sturdy shoes, a jacket or sweater, and a blanket.
  • There may not be running water for a time after a quake; store a couple gallons of water or juice.
  • Keep your kit under your bed or in a closet you can get to easily.

During and After an Earthquake


  • Take cover under a desk or table and hold on. Get down between the rows of seats in a classroom, or against the wall in a hallway.
  • Stay covered until the shaking has clearly stopped.


  • Assist others and remain calm.
  • Evacuate to the Emergency Assembly Area (EAA), identified on the emergency signage in each building.
  • Never use elevators. Turn off gas if you smell it and have access to the gas valve.
  • Wait at the EAA for help and instructions.
  • For campus updates, listen to KALX 90.7 FM.

Students with Disabilities

  • Know how to take cover in a quake. Arrange your living space so that nothing can fall on you.
  • Make a list of the special equipment and medications you need. Keep it with you.
  • Arrange to have "buddies" help you in an emergency.
  • Call for help using a whistle, flashlight, or other alarm.
  • Know where to get electrical power for wheelchairs or other devices.